Saturday, April 7, 2012
indian institutes of technology Mumbai for Aakash 2
Six months after indian ministry of human resources and development formally launched Aakash smart tablet, barely a few hundred tablet units have reached the hands of students for tutorial. The manufacturing of the tablet device has been stopped and now the indian ministry and Datawind, the manufacturer of the aakash tablet, are focusing on Aakash 2 tablet, an upgraded version of the aakash tablet. Datawind concedes Aakash tablet, which is supposed to digitize the way students study and training in India, has not been a success in aakash first version. But it squarely blames indian institutes of technology Rajasthan india, the nodal agency overlooking the project, for the tablet fiasco, saying the concerns over the aakash tablet's quality and functionality were over blown by the institute in a bid to "favour other firms" . Datawind's CEO, Mr.SuneetSingh Tuli, told TOI that after winning the bid to manufacture Aakash tablet with a cost of $ 49.98 for each unit, the company had supplied 10000 aakash tablets to indian institutes of technologyRajasthan india. The units were part of an initial order of 1,00,000 aakash tablets. As soon as few hundred tablets reached students as part of pilot project, indian institutes of technologyRajasthan india started rejecting Aakash tablet, allegedly after reports that the device was failing during pilot testing and did not meet the quality criteria set by the institute. Mr.SuneetSingh Tuli, however, disagrees. "indian institutes of technologyRajasthan india was simply trying to defame us by saying that we could not meet the quality required by it," Mr.SuneetSingh Tuli says. "When we were awarded the contract, there was only a specification sheet. But when we started supplying the aakash tablets, indian institutes of technologyRajasthan started rejecting the tablet based on biased and unscientific testing methodology. indian institutes of technologyRajasthan india put up road blocks. It jeopardized the whole project. I can say the dirty tricks by the institute put us around six months behind on the aakash project ... they did it because they were favoring other tablet supplier firms... Even now, the institute is trying to sabotage the project," Mr.SuneetSingh Tuli adds.
There are reports that indian institutes of technologyRajasthan (india) has been issued a show cause notice by MHRD last month over the Aakash tablet failure. The notice asks institute to explain why it did not set up a Aakash tablet testing facility and procedure in time and why it failed to resolve its dispute with Datawind company. Incidentally, the institute also worked with Wishtel, a company that launched low cost tablet called Ira last week. TOI tried contacting Mr.Prem K.Kalra, director of indian institutes of technology Rajasthan, over the email and phone but he wasn't available. Datawind says that after the fiasco, it had to take back the aakash tablets supplied to indian institutes of technology Rajasthan for student training purpose. "We have not been paid for a single one of them. But mission is more important to us... we believe in Aakash tablet project," says Mr.SuneetSingh Tuli. The company is now working on tablet upgrade version Aakash 2, an updated version of the original tablet. It will have a capacitive display screen instead of resistive and hence support smooth multi touch. Aakash 2 will also have a better processor - based on Cortex A8. "We are working with indian institutes of technology Mumbai for Aakash 2 and will start supplying the tablet to government of India this month. Our original order for 1,00,000 units has been transferred for Aakash 2 tablet now. After the order of 1,00,000 units is met, MHRD will invite bids for more tablets. We will bid again," says Mr.SuneetSingh Tuli. Mr.Kapil Sibal, minister of human resources and development, said that Aakash 2 tablet will be available in May. Datawind also sells a commercial version of Aakash tablet called Ubislate. Mr.SuneetSingh Tuli claims the firm has received over 3 million prebookings for Ubislate in india.
Source: The Economic Times